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Saturday, June 18, 2011

EQC head appears on Campbell Live: Review

EQC chief Ian Simpson appeared on Campbell Live last night after refusing to appear to answer residents' concerns on Wednesday night. John Campbell's Wednesday night programme for those who missed it was emotive, focusing on people in the Eastern suburbs who had been hardest hit and not been able to get any answers from the EQC on how to proceed. While Gerry Brownlee, Earthquake Recovery Minister, appeared on the show to tell residents it was "obvious" which suburbs would end up bowled, the responses from those in the Eastern suburbs were of people who were cold, scared, frustrated and frightened. As Labour MP for East Christchurch Lianne Dalziel emphasized, as the residents of Christchurch head into winter this government support is long overdue.

Simpson's notable lack of appearance on Wednesday night was a poor move from a public relations perspective, signaling that the EQC was left caught out and unprepared to deal with the questions that would be asked. Two days of crisis meetings later and it appears Simpson was briefed enough to be able to deal with the questions. The delays that residents were experiencing in being unable to get a hold of the EQC were to be expected he argued, particularly following a quake that resulted in 180,000 earthquake claims. With 130,000 of these processed by February before the second big quake it was clear that the EQC has made some gains.

However, one thing Simpson was not so good on was the way that the assessments had been prioritized. It was very clear that the smaller claims had been dealt with first and paid out, while people with much more severe damages went into the bottom of the queue as they had to wait for their houses to be assessed. People are living with major cracks through their houses, liquefaction and sewerage issues, and this is on top of the stress and uncertainty caused by the continuing aftershocks. Why have the people that have been hit extremely hard by the quake not managed to get any answers in the 8 months since September while other people have had minor repairs fixed? There was some insinuation that the EQC was waiting on the government to determine which zones would be condemned or what percentage the EQC was legally liable for of the costs. While Simpson denied this, he implied that his organization would be ready when the Government was.

It should not be underestimated the scale of the disaster that the EQC and the Government are dealing with in Christchurch. However, it seems that aside from the practical elements that they are achieving there is a major failure in communication in regards to Christchurch. It is clear that the systems that are in place are not being articulated well and that the prioritization of claims is not effective. That it took Simpson two days to answer questions on this signals this clearly.


At 19/6/11 11:28 am, Blogger countryboy said...

Hi Phoebe . I'm a Christchurch earthquake refugee . My business was closed as a result of the September 4 event . The house we rented in Redcliffs was thrown about although still livable but our neighbours houses were not so fortunate and most were red or yellow stickered back then . I decided we must move from Christchurch immediately because my instinct told me it was the first quake of many to come . More over , the type of quakes are ,in my view , bizarre in nature . Very shallow , very violent and perhaps strangest of all , very localized within the city . There are seismologists suggesting they found fault lines running between sets of traffic lights for example ! After February 22 , I drove into Christchurch through the south western suburbs of Hornby and Islington and saw a perfectly intact and operating city . There was busy traffic and open shops . A few kilometers further and I saw the first signs of liquefaction with huge holes and gaping cracks in the streets and roads The further east I went I entered what I can only describe as a war zone . Traffic nose to tail , shattered buildings and flooding . I looked into the central city along St Asaph , Tuam , Worcester Streets and saw an image out of a monster movie . The tallest building in town on an ominous lean while others still lay spilled and broken across familiar streets . It's no surprise to me that EQC and the government are having such trouble sorting out an awful bloody mess on an almost unimaginable scale . Two of the most sensitive areas of any city were almost selectively destroyed . The city's commercial heart and some of the city's poorest and most at risk . communities . To fix the mess for those still in there in that horror requires three things in my view . Money , person power and some one with big enough balls to make some definitive and immediate decisions regardless of whether the future might prove they were rash , perhaps in the extreme and only defendable for the ideas effectiveness because it worked . Perhaps not withstanding it cost many billions of dollars . At least those good and hard working people would be sorted . The reason for Gerry and his cautious wording and back tracking is that there is no money to spend . Certainly not on those beastly poor areas of a city now in rubble and heading to land fill . Then there's the person power deficit . This greedy neo con regime or status quo has , by it's very own machinations , pushed out our best and brightest to Australia and beyond to seek better wages and conditions . As for the balls to just get in there and fucking sort it out ...? Old , shriveled danglers resting on the seat of some ministerial BMW's , massaging , heated leather seat is where they are . We moved 9 days before the February 22 event of 6.1 and the rest is history and now a catastrophe in the making . Big quake ! No Money ! Wealth bloated , greedy , sociopathic , wankers being dilatory ! No thanks ! I'll take my chances in my new home , a small rural town where the most annoying thing is the rooster crowing three doors down . At least I can ' off ' it , cook it and eat it without causing too much fuss . And we can have a fire in the house ! An actual fire ! Without some flame nazi beating on my door holding a clip board and brandishing a mindless determination to enforce the law of righteous , local government bureaucrats bullying us into using OUR electricity , now owned by Power Co's growing fat for our off-shore investor masters ! Whew ! I'm glad I got that off my chest !


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